The first thing to address is what wrongful termination is and what it isn’t. Many people, employees and employers alike have a misconception of what constitutes wrongful termination. Absent a union agreement or other contract specifying the terms of employment most employment relationships are “at will” agreements. This means that either party may decide that you are no longer a good fit for the job and decide that you should seek employment elsewhere. This also means that if your employer decides that they don’t like the necktie you wore one day they could decide to fire you. It isn’t fair but just because a termination isn’t fair doesn’t mean it is a wrongful termination.
So what IS wrongful termination? Wrongful termination is being let go because of reasons that are protected by law: You can’t legally be let go because of your sex, age, race, or religion, or because you complained about sexual harassment. Additionally some states protect sexual orientation status, whistleblower status, and certain forms of speech in the workplace.
Preventing a lawsuit
As the employer you should try to do all you can to prevent these types of lawsuits from taking place. A few ways to do that are:
- Documentation: Implementing a paper trail for each employee will be a valuable asset if you ever need to fire an employee. Obviously most people don’t let employees go for their choice of work tie so if you have an issue with an employee it is best to document it. Evaluations, disciplinary actions taken, warnings, etc.
- Policies and Procedures: Create very clear and concise workplace policies for your employees that are enforceable. These should include policies on discipline, termination, and standards of conduct.
Wrongful Termination lawsuits
If you’ve found yourself the defendant in a wrongful termination suit you should contact an attorney immediately. If you are involved in an administrative law matter in Georgia, our lawyers are here to protect your rights and interests. Contact us today online or by telephone at (404) 233-4171 in Atlanta to arrange a consultation with an experienced administrative law attorney.